Search

 

Cablegate: Netherlands/Cuba: Solidarity Day Outreach

VZCZCXRO4755
RR RUEHAG RUEHDF RUEHIK RUEHLZ RUEHROV
DE RUEHTC #0450 1491108
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 281108Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY THE HAGUE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1521
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
RUEHUB/USINT HAVANA 0061

UNCLAS THE HAGUE 000450

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL KDEM KPAO PHUM NL CU
SUBJECT: NETHERLANDS/CUBA: SOLIDARITY DAY OUTREACH

REF: A. SECSTATE 51536

B. THE HAGUE 388

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED. PLEASE PROTECT ACCORDINGLY.

1. (U) SUMMARY: Following up on reftels A and B, post placed
an op-ed piece with a major Dutch paper (para 2) and hosted a
coffee with a Dutch NGO (para 3) to draw attention to the
human rights situation in Cuba. END SUMMARY.

2. (U) PLACEMENT OF OP-ED: On May 21, the Dutch dailQDe
Volkskrant, web edition, posted "Day of Solidarity with the
Cuban People" (in Dutch) under the byline of the Charge
d'Affaires. De Volkskrant is the leading morning daily in
the Netherlands, and its web edition is the leading newspaper
website.

3. (SBU) MEETING WITH NGO: Post invited the outgoing Dutch
ambassador to Cuba and six NGOs to a May 21 coffee with the
Charge to discuss human rights in Cuba. Kees van Kortenhof,
president of Glasnost in Cuba, was the only individual
available to participate; he met with Charge, the Public
Affairs Counselor, and poloff for 45 minutes. Charge shared
U.S. views, and Van Kortenhof responded:

-- Dissidents Divided: Van Kortenhof visited Cuba in March
this year, when he found a "generation gap" between more
senior dissidents (e.g. Ms. Roca) and youth. There is a wide
range of views. Many dissidents are growing older, and there
is a growing rivalry among dissident groups. Mr. Giovanni
says he'll "give Raul no more than two months" to show he's
reforming. Mr. Oscar Chepa, who happens to be very good with
economic and statistical information on Cuba, is more
optimistic. Ms. Roca is less optimistic.

-- Reforms so far appear to be cosmetic: Although reforms
announced so far by the GOC appear to be "for the stage,"
there may be something "deeper" under way. For example, this
month the government permitted a protest by gays. The Dutch
ambassador told Van Kortenhof that Raul Castro that he
doesn't want "big problems" with Europe, so he permits Van
Kortenhof to visit and meet with dissidents. The sign that
true reforms are taking place would be the release of
political prisoners. So far there's no sign that the
government is easing pressure on dissidents. El Pais in
Spain reported that Cuba would end the required tarjeta
blanca for Cubans to leave the country.

-- U.S. should downplay embargo but use it to leverage
reform: Van Kortenhof supports the U.Q emphasis on
political prisoners. He also believes governments should
have conditions on dialogue with Cuba -- some positive action
should be expected from the regime. Van Kortenhoff thinks
discussions of the U.S. embargo are not effective. At the
same time, the U.S. should not lift the embargo without
conditions.

-- Europe's reaction: Germany and the Czech Republic are
more likely to be good partners to the U.S. approach. Spain
is open to using the cosmetic changes in Cuba to support a
change in EU policy, as is Belgium, where there are some
groups willing to support Castro. In the Netherlands, some
groups, and members of the foreign ministry, are willing to
weaken restrictions on Cuba. However, FM Verhagen appears to
take the right approach. The average Dutch person doesn't
focus on Cuba, but Dutch tourists and NGOs do work to provide
books to the independent libraries in Cuba.

-- Van Kortenhof's personal history: He worked on Latin
America issues for a Christian trade union for 15 years,
during which time he followed the principle of "no
interference" by the Soviet Union or the United States in
domestic politics. In 1989, he visited Cuba and met with
government officials, who promised reforms and openness along
the lines of eastern Europe. However, he later learned that
the Cuban government prohibited access to Moscow publications
that reviewed perestroika initiatives. At that time, he
founded "Glasnost in Cuba." His foundation tries to present
a "range" of dissident viewpoints on its web site.
Gallagher

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO: